Kitui County Textile Centre (KICOTEC) has received 74,100 garment orders that will help grow the County economy, Governor Charity Ngilu has announced.
Ngilu said the aim of establishing the factory was not only to create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs, but also to retain the millions of shillings that parents in the county use to buy school uniforms from manufacturers in Nairobi and other counties.
“At full capacity, our fabrics’ factory will run 24 hours, employing more than 600 young people who were jobless. “Each of the 600 young people will earn their living here and build the Kitui economy,” Ms. Ngilu noted.
The Sh20 million factory situated at Syongila market, about 4km from Kitui town along the Kitui-Nairobi highway is modelled on the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) garment industrial unit, where it will run 24 hours on different working shifts.
Speaking on Monday at Kitui town, Ngilu said 145 electric sewing machines had been installed together with other embroidery and pressing machinery to ensure the fabrics meet the highest quality standards.
She said with the estimated 486, 000 students in both primary and secondary schools in the county, the factory has a ready market, and is expected to stimulate the local economy.
“Over 90 percent of this money leaves Kitui to Nairobi, Thika and Kiambu counties since we lack a uniform-making factory here. Kicotec seeks to cure this situation,” she said.
Commenting on economic realignments, Ngilu has challenged Ukambani Governors to make Ukambani region a strong ‘country’ in the Kenyan nation.
Ngilu advised Machakos and Makueni counterparts, Dr. Alfred Mutua and Prof. Kivutha Kibwana refrain from tiffs over the location of the Konza City.
She said dropping the tussle and paving way for the construction of the city would majorly benefit the three counties.
The Governor urged them to work in unison to establish an economically stable bloc under South Eastern Kenya Economic Block (SEKEB), saying the region had the potential.
Ngilu contrasted the SEKEB case with the biblical Moses who used his stick’s innate potential to make a way in the sea, citing the huge potential the bloc has to spur growth in the member counties.
“We have Tana and Athi Rivers passing through our counties. We have adequate land, labour and capital yet we consume vegetables bought from other regions. The “buy Kitui build Kitui” is a case of my commitment to empowering my people,” she said.
By Yobesh Onwong’a